War Reporters: Julius Caesar

He was a charismatic leader, a seasoned military veteran, and a formidable politician. It is little wonder that he is rarely thought of as being an ancient example of the modern-day war reporter. Seema Syeda examines battlefield scoops throughout the ages.…

Last stand: Thermopylae

Continuing his occasional series on legendary last stands, American military historian Fred Chiaventone recounts the Spartan defence of the Hot Gates in 480 BC.…

All you need to know about iklwas

Weapon specifications Most African tribes use a form of assegai, a light throwing-spear used in both hunting and war, typically around 6-feet long with a 6-inch steel head. Some of the most aggressive Bantu tribes of southern Africa have developed a shorter version of the throwing-spear, and one group –…

Air war over Malta

In the first of an occasional series on conflict archaeology, Anthony Rogers reports on the evidence for the epic air battle above the island-fortress of Malta during the Second World War.…

The Persian Wars

In his second article, Paul Rahe analyses Sparta’s response to the mortal challenge posed by the Persian invasions of the early 5th century BC.…

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Timeline: the Spartans

Traditional foundation date for Olympic Games c.776 BC Homer’s epics The Iliad and The Odyssey composed c.750 BC Sparta conquers Messenia c.700 BC Messenian Revolt followed by Spartan Reconquest c.650 BC At this time, radical changes took place in Sparta, with a new constitution (the Laws of Lykourgos), the development…

Epaminondas: the man who destroyed Sparta

The Spartans are so famous that their name has become part of the language. But the name of the military genius who broke their power – and whose example inspired Philip of Macedon and Alexander the Great – is hardly remembered at all. This is the story of Epaminondas and…

Isandlwana, 1879: Humbling the Great White Queen

‘I can’t understand it!’ That was British commander Lord Chelmsford’s response. Isandlwana was perhaps the greatest defeat inflicted on British redcoats by native warriors in imperial history. Zulu War expert Ian Knight, who has published a major new study, tackles the key question: what went wrong for the British at…

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